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His memoir, Ascent, charts not only his many triumphs in the climbing world - such as the Eiger and the Himalayas - but also the struggles he has faced in his life bringing up a family and maintaining a successful and loving marriage over the decades of travelling the world to conquer mountains.
He has undertaken 19 Himalayan expeditions, including four to Mount Everest, which he climbed in 1985 at the age of 50, and has made many first ascents in the Alps and greater ranges of the world. Along the way his many adventures have included meeting the mercurial Dougal Haston, the legendary-tough Don Whillans, the philosopher of the rock Stephen Venables and the enigmatic Doug Scott, plus many more.
Ascent is a memoir like no other - a timely and uplifting narrative for anyone who has ever dreamed of adventure.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anonymous User on 12-04-17
I've read about a number of Sir Chris Bonington's mountaineering expeditions but this book offers so much more than an account of such trips. Indeed, to write this book he must have experienced an intense adventure into his own soul. No stone is left unturned as Sir Chris writes about moments of great joy, fear, love and loss. It really is an incredible life which has been led but he does not hold back when considering the impact upon his family, accepting that ultimately the life of a serial adventurer must be a selfish one. Also for someone who is considered a kind of action hero it is perhaps reassuring to find that he has often lacked confidence and felt insecure, both as a young boy and later in life. The journey from extreme mountaineering to struggling to look after his Wife during her illness is sobering and make it very clear that his true loyalties were always closer to home. The narration was very good being soft and easy to listen to. I didn't find it difficult to picture the great man as I listened to it on my drive into work. I have always believed that Sir Chris' life has inspired millions around the world to seek joy in the natural environment and the company of friends. I am sure that this great book will continue to do this.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By C. Hart on 01-17-18
I finished this book unconvinced that Bonnington had actually tried give an honest account of his character. The public persona of a nice chap, and his constant reference to the great love and friendship of those around him seem to be at odds with the way in which all of these were ditched immediately when the next opportunity for a jolly came along. And this is where this fails as an autobiography. I moved between admiration of someone not taking a conventional route in life, but then lost this as no recognition was apparent that he was only able to do this as he is from a privileged background. Bach to admiration of someone who managed to turn his hobby into a way of avoiding work in the real world, which of course those not born into such privilege dream of, but without a real understanding of how lucky he had been. A man who wanted the freedom to follow his own path, but also wanted the conventional things such as wife and family but no real care for the impact this freedom had on them. I therefore finished without clear understanding of the man, which is surely the point of an autobiography.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful